Tommy Bowe sidelined for up to six weeks with groin injury
Munster have also been hit by injuries for their back-to-back matches against Perpignan
Ulster are resigned to being without their Irish winger and two-time Lions tourist Tommy Bowe for their Heineken Cup back-to-back matches against Treviso as well as the festive League games.
Following on from Rory Best’s fractured arm against the All Blacks, Bowe suffered a torn groin while on Irish duty, which will sideline him for four to six weeks and thus leaves him in a race against time for Ulster’s pool finale at home to Montpellier and away to Leicester.
Munster have also been hit by injuries in the build-up to their back-to-back matches against Perpignan.
Mike Sherry underwent a scan on Monday after suffering damage to the ACL in his left knee in Friday’s win over the Dragons and will see a specialist tomorrow to identify the full extent of his absence.
Winger Gerhard van den Heever will also see a specialist on Thursday after he sustained a broken bone in his right hand while Niall Ronan (sprained knee) is expected to resume training in approximately two or three weeks.
Against that Peter O’Mahony (dead leg) and Dave Foley (hamstring) are both back in full training while James Coughlan (eye) has been cleared to return to full training tomorrow.
Furthermore, Donnacha Ryan (knee ligaments), Tommy O’Donnell (knee hyper-extension) and Simon Zebo (broken foot) could all return in the next few weeks.
Ravaged by injuries
Munster’s woes are nothing compared to Perpignan, who have been ravaged by injuries, suspensions and internal strife in the build-up to Sunday’s clash at Thomond Park. Five players have been ruled out of this game, three of whom will also miss the return match in Stade Aimé Giral, due to injuries sustained in last Friday’s 30-23 defeat at home to Clermont.
South African wing Wandile Mjekevu (sprained ankle) and French second-row Romain Taofifenua (twisted knee) have been sidelined for three weeks, with Georgian prop Giorgi Jgenti (fractured wrist) out for six weeks.
French centre David Marty (calf injury) and English number eight Luke Narraway, (hip problem) were also replaced against Clermont and will miss the trip to Limerick.
USAP already had six other players on the treatment table while their former Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi and Tonga prop Sona Taumalolo are both suspended.
Furthermore club president François Rivière has indicated that the Fijian duo of Watisoni Votu and Isikeli Davetawalu could be sacked after allegedly being involved in a scuffle with police officers during the November Test window.
Meanwhile, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby were last night close to completing a new accord with the French Federation which will ensure their participation in next season’s Heineken Cup.
As further evidence of the French clubs’ heightened financial muscle, reigning French champions Castres have increased their initially attractive offer to sign Leinster tight-head Martin Moore which was reported in The Irish Times yesterday.
However, with the province also increasing their offer to Moore yesterday in the face of additional competition from Exeter and Racing Metro, the odds on Moore remaining with his native Leinster have increased.